Aphorisms for Artists by Walter Darby Bannard

Aphorism #86

Art is imitation of nature.

Seneca said this two thousand years ago. It is usually taken literally, to mean that art represents things we recognize.

Maybe it goes deeper than that. When realistic images or patterns are seen in an abstract painting, they are often parallels brought about by processes in painting which echo processes in nature.

Furthermore, I have noticed that procedures in art-making resemble those in nature, particularly evolutionary nature. Certainly the aesthetic attitude reflects the specialized, simultaneous attention to the whole and to minute detail that nature insists on for all life.

Everything around us, everything we are, and everything we do has evolved together for millions of years. We have more in common with a rock than we think.

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